My husband and I went to our weekly appointment at 4pm. My midwife, Annie, told us that my water bag was bulging out of my cervix and that I was at 4.5cm and that the baby could be coming basically anytime. My blood pressure was a little high as usual and I used my Hypnobirthing breathing skills to work to calm my anxiety and by the end of my appointment, my BP came down enough to allow me to go home.
After leaving my appointment, my waves began immediately. I was able to go home and relax and spend time with my husband and our 5 year old daughter who had been patiently awaiting on her baby sister’s arrival. We ate dinner and relaxed. At this point, my surges were 8-9 minutes apart and I was still unsure if this was actual labor or not. What I did know is that with each wave, I would have to stop all that I was doing and focus on breathing through them using my Hypnobirthing skills. I closed my eyes, shut out the world and focused on breathing and relaxation. The wave would end and I would go about my evening.
The surges continued to get stronger and stronger and by 6pm they were every 6 to 7 minutes. By 7:30 they were coming around every 4-5 minutes. I went and soaked in the tub and they still didn't subside. I got out and decided to contact my midwife. We agreed to be in touch within and hour so I could labor at home for as long as possible.
By this time, I felt that we needed to get our daughter settled for the night and my husband took her to my sister’s house. She and I both got emotional saying goodbye. It was hitting me that she was no longer going to be “the only one” and that made me feel sad in a way, as she is the center of my universe. She told me she was going to miss me. Luke took her and I stayed and labored on the bed.
I was not comfortable in any position really. I tried my side, squatting, draped over the end of the bed, on all fours, walking, bath, etc. Most positions made the ligaments in my pelvic area hurt more. The only place I had felt comfortable and had relief from contractions was on the toilet…where every pregnant momma spends half her life! Seated there, it relieved so much pressure and allowed me to open my hips in the most comfortable way.
My husband tried so hard to be super supportive and encourage me to breathe but I just kept getting so frustrated with him. It’s hard to accept help from your husband, while very loving and kind, just is not a feelings and emotions kind of person. I feel bad for that now because I know that he wanted to be helpful. I also wish that I had considered my need to have nonverbal support more from him, which I believe would have felt more natural coming from him. Looking back, I know that if my labor had not been so intense and so fast, and we had been at the hospital sooner (our final destination) I may have been able to use my skills and accept his support more and verbalize what I needed him to do differently.
Shortly after this, I felt like I had to go to the bathroom and had some bleeding. Then the surges started to get way more regular and more intense. My surges were very unmanageable at this point. I was unable to talk through them and I could feel my body getting ready to have this baby. With each wave I went within myself; I shut my eyes, breathed and focused on relaxing. I started to become nauseous and to shake without being able to stop it. I remember thinking that I was really struggling and questioned myself and my abilities to deal with early labor. Little did I know, I was entering into or in transition phase but had no idea that this was it. But I reached back out to Annie and she said it was probably time to get to the hospital.
Trying to get the car was super difficult as the surges were coming 2 to 3 minutes apart. I couldn't walk or talk through them and it took what felt like forever to get to the car. We got to the hospital and for some reason I wouldn't let my husband park in the emergency entrance breezeway and insisted that he park in the farthest spot in the parking lot. I stopped to have surges on the way that were coming nearly back to back at this point.
We found a wheelchair at the front door and I sat in it reluctantly. We wheeled into registry and I couldn't even open my eyes and look at the lady because the waves were so intense and I couldn't control my body. I continued to practice my breathing and tried to compose myself but my mind and body were on their own path. In fact, trying to hold back my moans and groans during this time was almost painful. The hospital staff must've known I was nearing delivery because another woman immediately escorted us back to labor and delivery. The doors opened Annie was there waiting in her green scrubs. Thank goodness! I felt a wave of relief rush over me but the surges did not let up.
We got to our room and the nurses were there waiting. Annie wanted me to get changed into my gown. I was trying to make jokes but it was obvious that I was trying to hold it together. I could barely walk because the surges were super intense and rocked through my whole body. These felt different than what I had been experiencing and I literally had no break in between them. I kept my eyes shut most of the time trying to focus as much as possible and to breath through each wave as it came over my body.
I went to the bathroom to change and immediately started having the most intense surge. My soft moaning had turned into full blown groaning and loud carnal vocalizations. Annie came into the bathroom to support me through the wave by applying pressure to my low back and reminding me to breathe because at this point, even that had become a lot to handle. I moaned and groaned and I just wanted to swear so bad! In fact, I think I did more than I should’ve throughout the entire process.
The wave passed and I thought I had time to sit down and use the restroom so Annie left the room. I had just enough time to pull my pants down and kick of my shoes and almost immediately, another wave came. Remember what I said about the toilet??? Annie came in right away and knew that the baby was coming. She helped by reminding to breath in and out. I felt like the wind had been knocked out of me like that gasping feeling you get…but as Annie reminded me to breathe, I thought of baby and that she needed it too and sucked in air. Just breathing in that moment was one of the most difficult things to do, so simple, but so hard.
I was still sitting on the toilet and started to feel the most intense pressure and odd sensation in my birth path. I felt the baby descending and with that I also felt my body instinctually want to help this along. Annie told me I needed to tilt my pelvis so she could see what was happening and continued to remind me to breathe. I took an inward breath and as I exhaled with a loud groan, I could feel my body gently and naturally push the baby out at the end of the breath. I cannot remember how many breaths or surges it took to deliver the head but I know that it came out. Annie told me later that I naturally I lifted my bottom off the toilet to prevent the baby from falling into it and she caught her. She immediately placed the baby in my lap and I held her there on the toilet. I remember hearing the nurses talk about cutting the cord and I was able to tell them that I wanted to delay clamping and they graciously respected that. My husband was there to take pictures and be with us while I sat on the toilet loving our sweet, tiny baby.
Our sweet girl was coming and she was coming and coming fast and there was nothing that we could do to stop her. My body knew what it was doing and found a place to do it in that was most comfortable, even if that happened to be the toilet. I later learned that Annie had sent Luke to get the nurses to come back to the room, that she asked for gloves and never had time to put them on and that she had to break my water as the baby was coming en caul.
Looking back, I am in shock at what the body can do. I can't believe I just gave birth so quickly and so easily. But it was also so so so hard. This may not be the ideal Hypnobirth to some. It was a little chaotic; I swore like a pirate, I was not as calm as you see in some of the videos; it was fast, and unpredictable. But here is what I also know…I was in control, I felt supported by my husband, I had a midwife who cared and showed me nothing but kindness, respect and true value to the birthing process, I felt like I had a say in how I birthed my baby which was one of the most exhilarating, empowering and difficult things that I will ever do in my entire life! I know that I would not have been able to handle this process the way that I did without Hypnobirthing and the skills I obtained throughout the learning process. Also, to compare this birth to the birth of my 5 year old…there really are no words, just feelings. This birth was healing to emotional trauma that I sustained with my first daughter where I had no control, no power and was entirely uneducated.
Rory Jaye Nichols was born on March 9, 2017 weighing 6lbs 5oz, 18.5in long. I went into labor around 4:30pm and labored at home until we left our house at 9:45. We walked into the hospital room at 9:57 and she was born at 10:02pm.